Clear and open, two-way communication is essential to avoid potentially disastrous results, so instead of assuming, always clarify the facts and if possible get both sides of the story before making decisions. Hasty, rash reactions lead to regret, needless conflict, ill feeling and offence through blame and not admitting personal responsibility for interpreting the information incorrectly. In the Promised Land war almost broke out over interpreting the facts wrongly (Josh 22:16-34).

Even our close relationships invariably involve not comprehending information correctly at times. Failure to understand brings confusion even when viewing the same event because we have different perspectives. We

Clarify the facts before offering an opinion

should do everything in our power, by God's grace and with His help, to clarify, to explain, and to always promote peace (Rom 12:18). However sometimes our best efforts to explain and resolve an apparent misunderstanding don't work out – this can be particularly painful with those dear to you. Don't let other people's negative, skewed opinions or actions affect your relationship with God, so leave the situation in God's hands for He wants to heal the broken hearted if we bring Him the pieces (Ps 147:3). Trust Him to give you the grace to interact with the these people in a God-honouring way. Remember Jesus instructs us to do to others as we would like done to us (Lk 6:31).

Through mix-ups, and the reactions of others we become wary of them. However, respectfulness, tolerance and especially forgiveness coupled with humbly admitting responsibility for our part in a communication breakdown will help resolve issues.

See also: assumptions, blame, clarify, communication, confusion, facts, forgive/forgiveness, mistakes, relationships, understand/understanding.